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Charles Barkley: 'I played with gay players'

Posted By CAROLINE LEE, UPI.com   |   May 7, 2013 at 2:56 PM   |   Comments

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May 7 (UPI) -- Charles Barkley added to the outpouring of support following NBA veteran Jason Collins announced he was gay.

But hall-of-famer Barkley took it a step further after Rick Welts, president of the Phoenix Suns, came out as gay. Barkley told the Washington Post that everybody has played on a team with a gay player -- he said he played with gay teammates "on two or three teams."

"We've all played with gay players. Everybody works with gay players," he said on TNT.

Collins became the first NBA player to come out in an autobiographical column in Sports Illustrated earlier this month.

Collins received support from everyone from President Obama to former NSYNC member Lance Bass.

Barkley says that in sports, ability to play should always outweigh sexual orientation.

"Man, we need to outlaw guys who suck at sports. I’d rather have a gay guy who can play than a straight guy who can’t play.”

Many athletes and commentators have come out in support of Collins, Welts, and any other player that should decide to come out. But Barkley showed important support -- his "big deal" approach to how it might affect sports.

"When I went to bed last night, I didn't care about who Jason Collins sleeps with. When I go to bed tonight, I don't care who Jason Collins sleeps with. I'm happy that he gets to be himself."
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